James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to the immensely popular “Avatar” is finally available to stream on Disney+. Along with “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Disney+ has added three behind-the-scenes featurettes designed to give viewers an in-depth look at the creative process for developing this blockbuster film. The three featurettes tackle the stunts, motion capture, and CGI that help bring the world of Pandora back to life for millions of fans.
My favorite of these is “Capturing Pandora.” Ever since I watched the motion capture featurettes on my “The Lord of the Rings” DVDs in the early 2000s and saw how Andy Serkis brought Gollum to life, I’ve been enthralled by the motion capture process. While some motion capture works better than others, I was intrigued by the changes in the past two decades and how the filmmakers were able to create these characters for this film. The process looks exhausting with the different types of cameras, some even worn by the performers, to ensure that every motion is captured for the world of Pandora. Still, there’s no denying the success James Cameron has had with motion capture technology.
My least favorite would be “Building the World of Pandora.” The CGI in both “Avatar” movies is visually stunning, there’s no denying that, and these visual effects artists deserve their praise for what they have been able to do when it comes to creating Pandora. Still, this is just the subject that grabs my attention the least. Maybe it’s due to the heavy use of green screen in prequel era “Star Wars” films or in superhero films and series, but this doesn’t grab my attention anymore. I guess this is how fatigue is setting in for me, I know longer care enough about stellar CGI work. Still, it’s an excellent featurette for those who are interested in seeing how the world of Pandora came to be for the sequel.
The middle of these three featurettes, for me, is the stunts. There was a time when stunts would be my absolute favorite of these, and I still loved watching it. I am still interested to see how these creative action sequences are brought to life and making the well-regarded films we know and many of us love. Plus, I’m a sucker for water, so I was always going to like a lot of things about this film and these featurettes.
If you love behind-the-scenes looks at some of your favorite films, definitely give these three featurettes a watch. It will only take about 15 minutes to watch all three, so it’s not time consuming at all. They give amazing insight into how this popular sequel was made as it dominated the box office in the latter half of 2022 and early 2023. Plus, they are a lot of fun to watch.
Rating: 3.5 stars
What did you think of the “Avatar: The Way of Water” featurettes?